When your plants need a drink

Water. It's such a simple thing. H20. Two atoms of hydrogen coupled with one atom of oxygen. That's all...hydrogen and oxygen, which just also happen to be two essential ingredients used in rocket science.

Alright, so watering plants isn't exactly rocket science, however, it does rely on several simple rules that, if ignored, will doom you to "ugly-stick-poking-out-of-pot syndrome" every time. Water too little, you can injure or kill your plant. Water too much, ditto. Water cactus and ferns in the same manner: Don black. Water a plant in the winter the same you did in the summer: Pick out a headstone.

Plants don't really have one foot in the grave... it just feels that way. Learning how much to water and when to do it, how to tell if your plant is in distress, and some of the tricks that more experienced gardeners use will get you well on the way to a healthy plant (and a happy human). Then you can start laying irrigation hose and constructing self-watering systems that will make your neighbor the same color as your patio: Green.